North Pole Business Melting Rapidly Amid Competition, Skepticism of Existence
WASHINGTON - Kristopher Kringle, known throughout the world as Santa Claus, arrived in Washington to deliver a lump of coal to Congress: a request for a $140 billion bailout.
The request was so stunning, not a creature was stirring, until Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asked Santa why he needed such a huge sum in his stocking.
With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Mr. Kringle stated that the 2008 Christmas was the worst since 1946 and that his business has been ravaged by factors beyond his control: the deregulation of the Santa market that resulted in the proliferation of unlicensed department store Santas and untraceable “Secret Santas”; the devaluation of Christmas through “Christmas in July” sales; and, most importantly, the growing disbelief in Santa’s existence.
“On the one hand, it’s hard to get the elves to believe in what they’re doing when people don’t believe in them,” Mr. Kringle said. “Then there’s also the practical matter: when I show up in people’s living rooms, they don’t believe it’s really me. Instead of milk and cookies, I get gunfire and calls to the police. My insurance premiums are through the roof.”
The request put Democrats in a quandary. Some more conservative members appeared uneasy with the idea of bailing out yet another business. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas,” said Senator Jim Webb, (D-Va.). “But Uncle Sam’s credit cards are maxed out right now, and frankly, the kids already have too many damn toys they don’t even play with.”
Others were wary of attacking one of the most beloved figures in history, sharing their Christmas memories and urging colleagues to find the money to save Santa. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) spoke wistfully of the time Santa gave him a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order. Congressman John Kerry (D-Mass.) recalled with vivid detail how Santa delivered a carton of cigarettes to Kerry when the Senator was patrolling the waters of Cambodia.
Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold summed it up: “Do we want this Congress to be the one to vote for a year without a Santa Claus?”
Some senators, however, didn’t have such qualms. They grilled Mr. Kringle on his delivery methods, saying he was trying to compete in a 21st Century world with 15th Century technology. Senator Joseph Lieberman (WTF-Conn.) commented on the insistence on delivering all toys in one night. “With all due respect, Santa, have you considered spreading out the presents over a week or so, and perhaps making the gifts more modest?”
Others criticized his labor practices. Senator Orrin Hatch (R.-Ut.) said that Santa’s Workshop was “a closed shop, open only to elves” and that the American people should not be supporting their generous benefit package such as their exceptional dental plan. Senator James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) vowed to not give Mr. Kringle “not one singe farthing of assistance” unless he agreed to increase the Christian content of Christmas. “Christmas needs to focus more on the original Santa, Jesus Christ,” said Senator Inhofe.
Finally, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) raised the question of whether the Congress should be giving money to a foreign national such as Mr. Kringle. “Why send our money to the North Pole when there are perfectly good American Santas in every mall in the United States?” the Senator asked.
Mr. Kringle addressed the criticisms by responding that the bailout would help him retool his business to be more competitive. Specifically, the money would be used to upgrade the reindeer and sleigh to a fleet of B-2 stealth bombers. The bombers could deliver surgical toy strikes down chimneys while remaining hidden from children. The fleet would also open up an arsenal of new punishment options for children on the “naughty” list. “This money would be used to purchase American-made equipment, which means a very black Christmas for good shareholders, ho ho ho,” Mr. Kringle said. He also promised to include more Bibles, Jesus-themed figurines, and Kirk Cameron DVDs in the gifts.
Despite the sometimes heated questioning, each senator posed for a picture with Mr. Kringle after the hearings, many of them seen slipping Christmas lists to him as well. Mr. Kringle is expected to meet with the Senate Committee for Holiday Cheer over a working milk-and-coookies lunch tomorrow.